What is Optimal Health?According to Ayurveda, optimal health is defined as Svastha. Sva meaning Self, and Stha meaning establish, steady, and stable. Svastha is made up of the two selves:
- Self: Capital S signifying the Soul or higher nature, the Self that is connected to the greater whole.
- self = Small s indicating the ego or lower nature, the self that is disconnected from the whole.
The 3 Causes of DiseaseIn Ayurveda, the three causes of disease are a misuse of the senses, failure of the intellect, and time and motion. It is through these three causes of disease that we may begin to age more rapidly.
Misuse of The SensesOur senses are what drive our physical experience. Proper use of our senses can help us live a long and harmonious life. However, improper use of our senses can cause aggravation and, later on, disease. Misuse of the senses could be eating too much or eating junk food, smelling overly stimulating scents, losing sleep, or listening to violent music and movies that invigorate fear. Proper use of the senses may depend on your specific dosha, but you can create harmony by generally living per the seasons by tuning into nature. Below we will discuss specific ways to live per nature through Ayurveda for old age to increase your lifespan.
Failure of The IntellectThis cause of disease is a crossroads for our Self and self because it is essentially our Self stating it’s wisdom, while the self shares its desires for pleasure. The intellect must always choose between whispers of the Soul (harmony and health) vs. the party of the self (pleasure). Here is an example of the failure of the intellect: Imagine you have a critical interview tomorrow at 8 am. You plan to go to bed early the night before to rest and prepare, but your best friend calls and invites you to an unforgettable experience. Your Self knows that it would be best to stay in and rest, but your self craves the experience. Depending on how you choose, you may be adding to disease or alleviating yourself from it.
Time and MotionLinear time is static in the physical world. Biological time is dynamic. Time is a measurement of motion, and motion causes disease. Thus, excessive movement can cause us to settle into the earth self (ego) rather than the higher Self (harmony). Excessive motion is very dominant in the Western world. We have a go-go-go mentality, and everything is encouraged at rapid speed. This increase in speed keeps us attached to the lower self, and does not allow us to live in a state of optimal health. By slowing down this motion, your life can extend. Ayurveda for old age prospers when we slow down and live per our true nature as spirit.
Ayurvedic Remedies for Old Age and LongevityAyurvedic remedies for aging focus on inviting us to tune into the natural workings of nature and our higher Self. These remedies increase the longevity of our lives. Below you’ll find practical remedies you can apply easily to your daily life.
Practice MeditationMeditation is a time-tested practice that slows our stress response rate. It allows our minds and bodies to settle back into a parasympathetic state (rest and reset) and lowers our fear-based beliefs, which are harmful to longevity. Research studies have reported that consistent meditation practices increase our awareness of the present moment, leading to positive cognitions, and increased acceptance of emotional experience. This results in a reduction in stress, which slows the rate of cellular aging.
Establish a DinacharyaAyurveda for old age and longevity promotes living in accordance with nature for optimal health. By aligning ourselves with the Ayurvedic clock, inspired by nature’s natural rhythm, we then find alignment with our Selves. Establish a dinacharya (daily routine) to find peace and harmony. While there are many different ways, you can incorporate a daily routine, here is a common 30-minute Ayurvedic morning dinacharya you may try for optimal health.
- Wake with the sun
- Tongue clean + Oral Hygiene
- Pranayama + meditation (10 mins)
- Yoga Asana (15 minutes)